August 13th, 2003

Blaming Mickey Mouse When Disney Screws Up

" Plura faciunt homines e consuetudine quam e ratione.'
(Humans do more from habit than from reason.)

Honoured and Esteemed Guests, Friends and Colleagues, Fellow Peace Creepz, Lady and Governor Schwarzenegger,

Whoa! Arnold Schwarzenegger as the next Governor of Hollywood (sorry.... California.)
Makes perfect sense. As Kavisha Mazzella noted a few weeks ago, America made Hollywood and now Hollywood's making America. Of course, he could never be President as he would have had to have been born in the USA for that. (But Bush could certainly change that law while he's at it - he's changing all the rest of them.)

Everyone I know loves 'The Terminator'. But I'll bet hardly anyone knows that my partner, Lin Van Hek, and I co-wrote a song, which she also sang lead on, that was in Terminator No 1! That's right - it's called 'Intimacy' and it is in the scene where the Terminator is hunting down the second Sarah - the one bopping with the headphones on, in her underwear, in the kitchen. 'Intimacy' is blasting away on her headphones, to be finally crunched into silence by big Arnie's leather motorcycle boot.

But, I also can't overlook that he was Daddy George Bush's man, way back when Papa was President. And as much as I like the movie, I'm afraid that poor Arnie's just another pretty face those Morlocks in office need, to keep people smiling up on the surface while they turn the cogs and screw us down below.

Maria Shriver and Arnie do have a fascinating marriage, however. She's a Kennedy Democrat and he's a longtime Republican. I imagine if asked, at a Kennedy function, who was his favourite musical composer of all time and the one he would most like to portray in a film, Arnold would have quickly said, 'I'll be Bach.'

To apply to run for Governor, he had to state his investments which included such stocks as Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Roto Rooter, Washington Post Co., Abbott Laboratories, Clorox Co., Target and Wal Mart Stores Inc. as well as millions of dollars in municipal bonds and real estate investments in Ohio and California. But he also cited assets and gifts from billionaire Marvin Davis who gave him $45 worth of popcorn and an $85 gingerbread carousel for Christmas. (You can take the boy out of Austria but you can't take . . .) Tupperware gave him a Tupperware humidor worth $100 (Did he and Maria have to have one of those parties to qualify?) Investment guru Warren Buffett gave him a $75 coffee table book (Was that a discreet Buffet signal to buy more Starbucks? If Warren's own Berkshire Hathaway portfolio is anything to go by, he probably also advised him to keep the Coke, and lose the Pepsi.) Finally, Schwarzenegger declared a $1,000 talking Terminator skull that he received from the producer of the latest Terminator film, T-3. (Hey! There's an idea- maybe I could send George W Bush a talking 'Shaddap You Face' skull from my latest film - errr.. . . better make that my not-so-latest hit song.) I've called the 'Schwarz' on his private line about investing some of his money into a joint business venture with me, a spaghetti franchise called, (wait for it . . . ) 'Pasta La Vista, Baby.' Boom Boom. His reply: 'I'll . . . . get back.' (That's cool.)

THE PASSION " Everytime I see a wall between people, I like to take a brick out of it."Pope John XXIII

Gibson is a member of an ultraconservative Catholic movement, called 'Holy Family', which rejects the Vatican's authority over the Catholic Church. (Hmmm . . now that's interesting! I can't figure out why they all haven't been excommunicated by now. They used to threaten us with excommunicaton, when I was a kid, just for eating meat on Friday.) Mel is also currently building a small church (70 seats) for Holy Family, with his own money, in Santa Monica, where the Catholic Mass will be spoken in Latin, like it used to, back in 1950 B.P. (Before Pedophilia.)

Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson is a well-known notorious Holocaust denier who has also publically claimed that the World Trade Center was destroyed by remote control and not by Al Queda; that the Second Vatican Council was a Masonic plot backed by the Jews and that all popes going back to John XXIII have been illegitimate "anti-popes". I sure hope Mel gave his dad a part in the new film. He'd make a convincing St Paul (He could play him before his conversion, as Crazy Saul the Christian-Catcher, before he was hit in the head by the Holy Lightning Bolt.)



The two men charged with Malicious Damage & Willfully Marking Premises with Chalk / Paint etc. over their painting of NO WAR on the Sydney Opera House, yesterday invited Prime Minister Howard to attend their trial as a witness. Here is the letter formally asking the Prime Minister to come to the trial:

Dear Prime Minister, 

Re: David Burgess and Dr Will Saunders 

I act for David Burgess and Will Saunders. They are due to take their trial on 29th September 2003 in the Sydney District Court on a charge of "Malicious Damage" contrary to s 195 Crimes Act 1900. The charge arises out of the painting of the words "No War" on the Sydney Opera House on the morning of March 18th this year. 

On the advice of counsel, I am given to expect that, in this trial, the motives of my clients for this extreme form of protest, and the beliefs they then held, will fall to be canvassed, and will, as a matter of law, be relevant to its outcome. 

Later on March 18th you spoke in the House of Representatives. You gave some account of how, why and when your decision to commit this country's armed forces to a war on Iraq had been reached.  

This letter is to advise you that the evidence that my clients intend to give concerning their states of mind on the morning of March 18th will refer to your decision to go to war, to your speech in the House and to subsequent events in Iraq, Britain and USA. 

They intend to suggest: - 

1. That you had secretly committed this country to an illegal, immoral and unjust war before 18th March 2003.
2. That you knew, at the time the decision was taken that military action would inevitably lead to civilian deaths. As a result of that action, as at the present date, in excess of 6,000 civilians have been killed, and some 20,000 injured.

3. That your stated justification in the House for the deployment of Australian armed forces, to the extent that it referred to the Iraqi Government's possession and ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction and the consequent threat to Australia and other countries, was unfounded and, therefore, was a lie consciously told, or you were duped by what the governments of Britain and USA said about their intelligence.
4. That your decision to commit this country to war without a second resolution from the UN undermined the authority of that body, denied our obligations under Chapter VII of its Charter, and entailed that you had determined to involve Australia in the waging of an aggressive war.
5. That you ignored the mutual obligations entered into, with respect to the UN, between Australia and the United States in the ANZUS Treaty of 1951.

6. That you deliberately misled the House and the people of this country by suggesting that Iraq's biological, chemical or nuclear weapons were likely to fall into the hands of terrorist organizations when you knew there was not sufficient evidence that Iraq possessed such weapons, or that its government had links to terrorist organizations.

7. That you abdicated your responsibilities to the people of this country by surrendering control of its foreign policy to the government of the United States. In doing so you betrayed the safety of the Australian people by provoking hatred and terrorist attack.
8. That you denied the people of this country effective democracy by not submitting the decision to a free vote of the Parliament, when you knew that the opinion polls reported a large majority against war without further express UN sanction and authority, and you knew that you would not have the support of the Opposition for the sending of Australian forces to an undeclared war without UN sanction.
I invite you to make yourself available as a witness in the proceedings if you now contend that any of these propositions is untrue. 

Should you decline my invitation, or fail to respond to it, counsel will tender this letter to the court of trial, and invite the court to draw the appropriate inferences from your absence. No doubt all parties to the proceedings would try to accommodate your convenience should you elect to attend.  

I intend to disclose this letter in full to the media at the same time it is delivered to your office. Any response you may make will be released forthwith. 

Yours faithfully,
Stacey K. Dowson, Solicitor

"Making the world safer for America is not the same as making it a safer world in general for the rest of us." Lasantha Pethiyagoda

We Stand Our Ground
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

" They call it Pax Americana, a plan to invade Iraq, take it over, create a permanent military presence there, and use the oil revenues to fund further wars against virtually every nation in that region. This we call bringing our "values" over there. Norman Podhoretz, one of the ideological fathers of this group of neoconservatives who now control the foreign policy of this nation, described the process as "The reformation and modernization of Islam." That's a pretty fancy phrase. I am a Catholic, and can therefore call it by its simpler name: Crusade. We know all about those.
     This is the Project for a New American Century, the product of a right-wing think tank that, in 1997, was considered so far out there that no one ever thought its members would ever come within ten miles of setting American policy. One broken election, however, vaulted these men into positions of unspeakable power. Their white papers, their dreams of empire at the point of the sword, have become our national nightmare, and the nightmare of the world. I speak of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Lewis Libby, and the rest of these New American Century men who have taken our beloved country and all it stands for it and thrown it down into the mud.
     You will note that I did not name George W. Bush, for blaming Bush for the gross misadministration of this government is like blaming Mickey Mouse when Disney screws up. He is not in charge. Truman said "The buck stops here," and so we point to Bush as a symbol of all that has gone wrong. But he is not in charge. These other men, these New American Century men, have delivered us to this wretched estate, and by God in Heaven, there will be a reckoning for it. " (more)
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)

Al Gore's Stirring Speech
Former Vice President Al Gore
New York University

"At first, I thought maybe the President's advisers were a big part of the problem. Last fall, in a speech on economic policy at the Brookings Institution, I called on the President to get rid of his whole economic team and pick a new group. And a few weeks later, damned if he didn't do just that - and at least one of the new advisers had written eloquently about the very problems in the Bush economic policy that I was calling upon the President to fix.

But now, a year later, we still have the same bad economic policies and the problems have, if anything, gotten worse. So obviously I was wrong: changing all the president's advisers didn't work as a way of changing the policy.

I remembered all that last month when everybody was looking for who ought to be held responsible for the false statements in the President's State of the Union Address. And I've just about concluded that the real problem may be the President himself and that next year we ought to fire him and get a new one. "

You can read the full prepared speech here.
You can watch it being spoken (RealPlayer) by Gore himself here.


Most of us have been increasingly concerned about growing evidence that the Bush Administration misled the public, Congress and the U.N. about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  I just signed a petition calling on US Senators Frist and Daschle to convene a select Senate committee immediately, with sufficient funding and investigative power, to learn the truth about what the Bush Administration really knew about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  I hope you will sign it, too.

Did the Bush Administration possess clear and compelling evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, or was speculative evidence exaggerated, manipulated or made up? I want to know the truth, and I trust you do, too.

It only took me a few seconds to sign the petition and I'm hoping you'll take a short time to sign it, too.  Click here: Petition
P.S.  Please feel free to forward this Petition to anyone that you know who might be interested.


"There is no musical notation that exists sublime enough to capture what happens when a folk singer sings." Percy Grainger

Last week, through some fortunate new acquaintances, Percy Grainger came back into my life again. I consider Grainger Australia's greatest composer. His music and ideas have influenced me tremendously and you can find out more about him from The Friends of the Grainger Museum, in Melbourne, whose website is located here.

Unfortunately, who Percy Grainger really was cannot be fully embraced by the Australian music community, at the moment, due to some very quirky fetishes he possessed, which most of his cultured admirers would like to pretend didn't exist, and just leave hidden back there in the closet. Even I have a problem with some of the things Grainger said and did, but that doesn't keep me from appreciating the brilliance of his musical setting of folk songs like, 'Shallow Brown,' or his stunning choral arrangements. Today, people have a tendency to write off someone completely if they exhibit the least sign of being imperfect to the highest moral standard - when in fact, none of us are perfect, even to our own moral standards. (Heck, most of you wouldn't even stand the scrutiny of a simple tax audit, much less someone seriously poking around in your background for dirt.)

Grainger's close friend, fellow composer Cyril Scott, wrote this:

". . .biographers writing of eminent men, unearth every species of 'skeleton in the closet' and rattle its bones in front of a lecherous public. Readers gloat over the follies, weaknesses, sexual complexes, perversities and what-not of deceased celebrities. Each member of the reading public becomes, as it were, the proverbial 'valet de chambre', to whom no man, however great, is a hero."

You see, JFK couldn't have been a good leader because he chased women. Martin Luther King Jr's achievements must pale in the light of his extra-marital affairs. Of course, President Clinton has no integrity - how can he possibly lead anyone? - because he got a head-job from Monica Lewinski.

If we are going to start measuring greatness by the rule of perfection to the ideal, then we better write off 99% of the trailblazers of this world's chequered history - because they ALL had problems and character flaws. (I mean, would you really want Van Gogh as a roommate? Henry Ford or General Patton as a father? Toulose Lautrec or Emily Dickinson as a marriage partner?) A fair share of personal idiosyncrasies are integral to the make-up of unique and creative individuals. Doesn't mean you have to blindly subscribe to everything about that person you don't agree with. But to ignore what is good and great and inspirational about others because of what we consider 'character flaws' is absurd.

A well-known divinity once said, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? . . . Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye". Matthew 7:3-5

The very conflicts in Percy Grainger's life, the paradox of what was awful about him, against what was sublime, are precisely what interests me in him as a person and have helped to flesh him out for me as an artist, pun intended.

Here's an audio sample of Grainger's speaking voice (Windows Media) voice.

For The Castlemaine State Festival, several years ago, I suggested to director, Brett Kelly, that he might include in the opening day celebrations, for the Melbourne Chorale, Grainger's choral setting of a Rudyard Kipling poem, 'Recessional.' I had been singing a version for guitar and voice that I had transcribed into a folk song.

In this great poem on the futility of war, Percy has spotted the closing line, 'Lest We Forget', and its particular significance for Australians. The context, however, redirects the meaning.

(Words: Rudyard Kipling, Music: Percy Grainger)

God of our fathers, known of old, Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold dominion over palm and pine -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,' Lest we forget - 'lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies; The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,' Lest we forget - 'lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, ' Lest we forget - 'lest we forget! Amen.



Here is some background on the once mighty cities of Nineveh (Iraq) and Tyre (Lebanon).

Nineveh was founded by Nimrod - "the mighty hunter" - and was the last capital of the Assyrian Empire , one of the great enemies of the Nation of Israel in the Bible. The ancient site is part of Mosul, the second largest city in modern Iraq and lies on the east bank of the Tigris a few kilometers downhill from the beginning of the Kurdish mountains.

In 612 B.C. Nabopolassar united the Babylonian army with an army of Medes and Scythians and led a campaign which captured the Assyrian citadels in the North. The Babylonian army laid siege to Nineveh, but the walls of the city were too strong for battering rams, so they decided to try and starve the people out.

A famous oracle had been given that "Nineveh should never be taken until the river became its enemy." After a three month siege, "rain fell in such abundance that the waters of the Tigris inundated part of the city and overturned one of its walls for a distance of twenty stades."

The King, convinced that the oracle was accomplished and despairing of any means of escape, to avoid falling alive into the enemy's hands constructed in his palace an immense funeral pyre, placed on it his gold and silver and his royal robes, and then, shutting himself up with his wives and eunuchs in a chamber formed in the midst of the pile, disappeared in the flames. Nineveh opened its gates to the besiegers, but this tardy submission did not save the proud city.

The wall around Nineveh was 40 to 50 feet high. It extended for 4 kilometers along the Tigris River and for 13 kilometers around the inner city. The city wall had 15 main gates, 5 of which have been excavated. Each of the gates was guarded by stone bull statues. Both inside and outside the walls, were parks, a botanical garden, and a zoo and a water-system containing the oldest aqueduct in history at Jerwan, across the Gomel River.

Nineveh was pillaged and burned, and then razed to the ground so completely as to evidence the implacable hatred enkindled in the minds of subject nations by the fierce and cruel Assyrian government.

Nineveh was laid waste as ruthlessly and completely as her kings had once ravaged Susa and Babylon; the city was put to the torch, the population was slaughtered or enslaved, and the palace so recently built by Ashurbanipal was sacked and destroyed. At one blow Assyria disappeared from history. Nothing remained of her except certain tactics and weapons of war.

In the 10th century B.C., Hiram became King of Tyre, and reigned from 969 B.C. to 936 B.C. King Hiram appears in the Bible as an ally of the Israelite kings, David and Solomon and maintained friendly relations with Israel, supplying Solomon with men and materials for the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem and co-operating with him in Mediterranean and Red Sea trading voyages. Solomon gave him tribute and Galilean territory

Phoenician Tyre was an island city of unprecedented splendor that grew wealthy from its far-reaching colonies and industries of purple-dyed textiles. But Tyre also attracted the attention of jealous conquerors among them the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great.

Founded at the start of the third millennium B.C., Tyre originally consisted of a mainland settlement and a modest island city that lay a short distance off shore. But it was not until the first millennium B.C. that the city experienced its Golden Age.

Phoenician expansion began about 815 B.C. when traders from Tyre founded Carthage in North Africa. Eventually its colonies spread around the Mediterranean and Atlantic, bringing to the city a flourishing maritime trade.

But prosperity and power make their own enemies.

Early in the sixth century B.C. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, laid siege to the walled city for thirteen years. Tyre stood firm, but it was probable that at this time the residents of the mainland city abandoned it for the safety of the island.

In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great set out to conquer this strategic coastal base in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. Unable to storm the city, he blockaded Tyre for seven months. Again Tyre held on. But the conqueror used the debris of the abandoned mainland city to build a causeway and once within reach of the city walls, Alexander used his siege engines to batter and finally breach the fortifications.

It is said that Alexander was so enraged at the Tyrians' defense and the loss of his men that he destroyed half the city. The town's 30,000 residents were massacred or sold into slavery. Tyre and the whole of ancient Syria fell under Roman rule in 64 B.C. The Romans built great important monuments in the city, including an aqueduct, a triumphal arch and the largest hippodrome in antiquity.   

At this time the town witnessed a Second Golden Age as can be seen from the remains of its buildings and the inscriptions in the necropolis. Taken by the Islamic armies in 634, the city offered no resistance and continued to prosper under its new rulers, exporting sugar as well as objects made of pearl and glass.

Thanks to Tyre's strong fortifications it was able to resist to onslaught of the Crusaders until 1124. After about 180 years of Crusader rule, the Mamlukes retook the city in 1291, then it passed on to the Ottomans at the start of the 16th century.

With the end of the World War I Tyre was integrated into the new nation of Lebanon.


Two nuns, Sister Catherine and Sister Helen, are traveling through Europe in their car.  They get to Transylvania and are stopped at a traffic light. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny little Dracula jumps onto the hood of the car and hisses through the windshield.
 "Quick, quick!" shouts Sister Catherine.  "What shall we do?"
 "Turn the windshield wipers on.  That will get rid of the abomination," says Sister Helen.
 Sister Catherine switches them on, knocking Dracula about, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.  "What shall I do now?" she shouts.
 "Switch on the windshield washer.  I filled it up with Holy Water at the Vatican," says Sister Helen.
 Sister Catherine turns on the windshield washer.  Dracula screams as the water burns his skin, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.
 "Now what?" shouts Sister Catherine?
 "Show him your cross," says Sister Helen.
 "Now you're talking," says Sister Catherine.
 She opens the window and shouts, "Get the fuck off the car!
(thanks to Frank Dolce)

"Over 70 years, the digestive system will process about 23,000 pounds - nearly 12 tons - of solid food." Deepak Chopra

Here's another couple of pounds.


For the Mayonaisse: Mix wasabi powder with mayonnaise of your choice.

For the Cajun Seasoning: Mix cayenne pepper, hot paprika and freshly ground black pepper together.

Method: Coat salmon steaks thickly in the cajun seasoning and grill until ready. Serve with wasabi mayonnaise and sliced lemon on the side. Fresh peas, with garlic, make a nice side dish.


1 large smoked ham hock (cut in half)
8 cups water
2 1/2 lbs fresh turnips, including greens, if possible
4 lbs fresh greens (silver beet, collards or kale)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbles salt
2 teas freshly ground black pepper
2 teasp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup bacon drippings (optional)

Put hamhock and skin in water in a large pot. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer, covered one hour or until liquid is reduced by 2/3. Cut greens from turnips and set aside. Wash and peel turnips. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Add turnips to the pot. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Wash and chop all greens. Add to the pot along with the sugar and seasonings. Pout optional bacon drippings over top. Cover and cook over medium hear for 25 minutes. djust seasoning to taste and let stand for a few minutes. Serve greens along with a helping of the juices or 'pot liquor'. Note: Also works well with Yams and Sweet Potatoes.
(Thanks to Sylvia's Soul Food Restaurant, Harlem.)

Einstein's dying wish was that all nuclear weapons would be destroyed.